But best of all was when we both exploded in a laughter born of mutual recognition as our memories located the weirdest of them all...'The Singing Ringing Tree' (or to afficionados TSRT) ...or in its original German title Das Singende Klingende Baumchen. This surreal fairy tale came out of the Babelsberg studio in Potsdam and was produced by DEFA films and featured a nasty haughty princess, a handsome prince who is later turned into a bear, an evil dwarf, a magical singing ringing tree, some comic soldiery, and a talking fish (full story here) .
As I remember it everyone of us in our class could not get over how wonderful it was, and as I recall it was repeated a good few times, because I remember watching it at least twice. What made these tales from Europe so watchable was the fact that it transported us to another land, in so many ways, a land of fairy tales and of course the unknown lands of Europe. The fact that they came from behind the Iron Curtain did not either register with us, or if it did it certainly did not matter. Curious I found that my old school mate and I were not alone in remembering with warm affection this whole series, and the Singing Ringing Tree in particular. I listened with some fascination the BBC Radio 4 documentary about the innovative and at times absolutely terrifying fairy tale from the DDR and the USSR . By clicking on the hypertext link you can still listen to that documentary about the cult DDR childrens film
I went on to some discussion boards and discovered that this programme was stuck in other peoples minds as much as mine, one poster described his feelings thus,
"I still have flashbacks in the form of a barely-remembered, glorious,visually sensual,surreal,sinister and to me,somehow erotic dream. The princess was the first woman I ever loved. I remember I may have been about eight or nine years of age at the time and I found this woman utterly bewitching. I would gawp in complete enrapture at her - to me she was the most beautiful, other worldly and exquisite thing I had ever seen! Seeing pictures of her now still makes me feel 'all funny'! Throughout my life I have always had an interest in the unusual,sinister,bizarre and erotic and I would say that TSRT most probably laid the foundations for this, along with other European children's programmes. A huge thankyou to all those individuals responsible for helping us to relive a small part of our innocent childhoods again "
There are literally dozens and dozens of other comments like this about TSRT on
- If you want to be a complete anorak about this a full listing of what was on Tales from Europe and when is available here .
- Seeing that there is obviously a lot of us who were mesmerised by the whole 'Tales from Europe' experience I have decided that 'Unrepentant Communist' will repeat the role of the socialist countries and provide a little bit of access to some clips from the best loved of these 'Tales from Europe', this is part of a series of 7 TSRT tracks available now on You Tube
but perhaps the visuals will bring back a few memories, apologies to those readers who did not see these in their childhood since you were in other countries, but I hope you will indulge this exercise in blatant nostalgia on this one teeny weeny occasion :) ....